But today can we pretend it’s not too late?

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If you could fall tragically in love with a song, then Sean Lennon‘s ‘Tomorrow‘ was my greatest and saddest love. I can’t even listen to the song any more. This song is about two people who love each other but for some reason they can’t be together any more. They spend one more day together, making the most of it.

I remember the first time I listened to ’Tomorrow’, I just wanted to listen to this one song for the rest of my life. I played it on repeat, burned it onto a CD so I could listen to it in the shower. I just loved singing along to it; I often pretended Sean and I were singing a duet. I don’t know why I was so in love with this song. It was just a very simple song. Maybe the song just had a really catchy chorus or refrain. Maybe I yearned for that sort of great and tragic love. Maybe at the time I was particularly heartbroken. Whatever it was, I listened to it almost every day. I think I ended up clocking around 300 – 500 plays in a year.

After a few years, this song I once sang along to became too difficult to listen to. Those romantic lyrics about promising to stop loving, thinking and dreaming about someone morphed into something else when my dogs died. Rather than a song about the end of a relationship, ‘Tomorrow’ became a reminder of how this wonderful chunk of my life no longer existed. I can’t even think about it without feeling my throat seize up.

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t talk about this grief because it feels almost silly to be this overwhelmed with loss over a dog, but I feel how I feel. I don’t consent to anyone making me feel like my grief for my dogs is less valid than if it was for a person. They’ve been in my life since I was twelve. They were my sisters, and their presence in my life gave me unimaginable joy and purpose.

I hope one day I’ll be able to listen to ‘Tomorrow’ again. In the meantime, I want you to enjoy the song as much as I did.

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Just another post about Writer’s Block

Another-blog-post-about-Writer's-BlockI’ve had the WORST writer’s block for the past month. It’s not just affecting my writing, but also my songwriting. I’ve recently written a pretty catchy song. It’s got a melody, a chord structure and all that, but I’m just struggling with writing the lyrics. I’m scared to sing the song with just any lyrics in case I can’t shake them off. GAH.

I’ve been accepted into Footscray Community Arts Centre’s West Writers Group and while I’m learning lots and meeting new people, I’ve also placed a pressure on myself to be “on my game” and write some decent stuff. When I step away from everything, rational thinking tells me to give myself a break and allow myself to make mistakes and write terrible things because it’s better than not writing at all, and it’s the best way you can improve. But of course, I don’t do the rational thing and I just end up feeling paralysed. It’s mostly a confidence issue, but I also struggle to figure out what it is I want to write about, what story I want to tell, and if I have the authority to tell certain stories.

I spent the last two weeks living with Liam’s parents while I did some receptionist work at their company. It was really fantastic for me, not just because I had a “purpose” every day, but it was like taking a break from “creating” and putting more emphasis on reflection. I feel fresher and have a clearer idea of what I want and need to do to get the most out of this writers group.

I’m slowly starting to see this writers group as not just about writing, but an opportunity to dabble and experiment with form. I’m trying to keep an open mind and rather than believe I only do one type of writing (narrative non-fiction, poetry etc), I’m seeing how the form of a text can enhance the content. I’m laying out a rough plan for a piece which has elements of Epic Theatre, so I might even write a play, which I’ve never done in my life!

When it comes to the actual “writer’s block”, there’s heaps of advice out there, but I think the most useful advice I’ve received is just to figure out what it is that’s stopping you from writing and somehow fix it before it affects your words. If you’re already writing something and there’s a particular paragraph or section you just can’t get through, it’s sometimes helpful to just stop, and move onto another project or task.

Here are some resources that might come in handy:

I’m a big fan of Charlie Jane Anders’ writing and she regularly writes posts about writing on io9. Most of it is catered towards Sci-fi writing but they can be applied to other things too. The one I found most useful is her post on the 10 types of writer’s block and how to overcome them. Very handy! http://io9.com/5844988/the-10-types-of-writers-block-and-how-to-overcome-them

Writers Victoria have a whole section on their website dedicated to interesting writing “work outs” by writers for writers: http://writersvictoria.org.au/help-for-writers/writing-workouts

This is not really just for writing, but if you’re lacking inspiration, check out Keri Smith’s 100 Ideas post: http://www.kerismith.com/popular-posts/100-ideas/

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

A sartorial fog

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Everyone has that one item in their closet that encapsulates everything about them. Mine is my Sass bomber jacket with gold sequin sleeves. It fits well, makes me feel confident and lifts a simple striped tee and skinny jeans combo to new heights. I’ve had some really great nights wearing that jacket, and as an added bonus, it cost me $20 at a warehouse sale.

But there are other items lurking in my wardrobe I love just as much as that jacket but, for whatever reason, I can’t bear to part with them despite their ill fit. From a dress I bought in Cambodia that hugs my middle tight than it did three years ago to beautiful dresses I bought online whose fit were slightly off and, after weeks of um-ing and ah-ing meant I could not return it any more, these clothes grow stale in my draws, unable to dance on the bodies of others who can really make them shine. I’ve kept them because part of me wants to believe I will be thin like I was three years ago or I will be able to look great in that dress once I lose that pouch. The fact is, they’re just reminders of what I’m not right now, and rather than move forward and enjoy being in the present, these clothes add aspirational pressure and drag down my self-confidence.

I stumbled across this blog post on Design for Mankind via pinterest. Blogger Erin Loechner said she culled her wardrobe down to 25 items she absolutely loves and wears on a regular basis. She was asked if she felt wasteful for culling so much but she thought it was more wasteful to let items sit in her closet for months without any wear. Inspired by this post, I decided to cull my own wardrobe. Liam mentioned this to his sister and she said she was happy to take any clothes I didn’t want, which actually helped me be more ruthless with the culling process. I guess, knowing some of the more expensive items were going to someone you know made giving it away easier than just putting them in a charity bin. Like Loechner, I nailed it down to 25 items, but I didn’t include shoes, “gym gear” and outer wear in this list as I am a sucker for shoes and coats.

I gave the clothes to Liam’s sister and she was ecstatic about my second hand offerings. My Juicy Couture coat and bevy of pretty dresses fitted her like a glove. I’ll admit, I felt twinges of sadness as I handed over the clothes, but a pressure also lifted itself off my shoulders. I’m no longer reminded of what my body is not, and I’m no longer dressing for what I will be, but what I am now.

Have you culled your wardrobe recently? What was the hardest item to part with?

First week of Funemployment

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I’ve started catching up on some of the TV shows I’ve been wanting to watch. I love drama shows but I have to be in the right mood to watch them. I’m usually pretty mentally drained from work so I watch loads of (maybe too many) comedy shows. I pretty much devoured The Fall in a day and a bit and I’ve just finished season one of Fargo. INTENSE, GUYS! I’ll be moving on to True Detective. Other shows on my radar: Halt and Catch Fire (!!! Lee Pace *insert emoji with heart eyes*), Peaky Blinders, The Good Wife and Orphan Black. Hit me up with recommendations in the comments!

I’ve been doing more than just watching TV! Or at least, I’m trying to. When I was working full time, I always complained I never had time do anything creative so I’m really trying to use my time wisely now. I’m currently living at my parents’ place because I am acting chauffeur for my brother. He got a job at a restaurant and needs someone to pick him up after his late shifts. The change has been quite nice, although I do feel a little displaced. I feel reasonably relaxed at my parents’ place but I also feel like I’m living out of a suitcase, with my core belongings and clothes still at my place.

One of the things I started doing again is paint with watercolour. I thought I’d do something useful while bingeing on TV shows. It’s been really great! I painted a sunflower which I’m really happy with. It was sort of inspired by Klimt’s sunflower painting. I tried to paint something similar in acrylic paint but it didn’t quite work out.

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I got together with my friend Edwina, who’s got a sweet little Etsy shop full of her craft projects, for an afternoon of painting. I painted this … thing. I don’t really know what it is but I quite like it, but also feel like it’s missing something. What do you think?

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This week I’m focussing more on music. I haven’t played my ukulele in a while so I wanted to dedicate more of my time this week to music. It’s been really fun. I’ve stopped mucking around with song covers and started playing with chords and I think I wrote a song! I just need to nail down the lyrics. I’m finding the lyric part of songs really hard, probably because I don’t really know what to write about. I guess it’s like sitting down and trying to write a poem when you don’t know what you want to convey. Anyway, it’s obviously rough as at the moment. If it’s any good (or if it’s god awful), I’ll chuck it up on Soundcloud.

What awesome projects have you been doing this week?

The Chinese section is over there

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Today I encountered a situation I thought I knew how to handle.

My friend and I decided to go to the library because she wanted to find something to read over the Christmas break and I wanted to check out some Gustav Klimt art books. I headed to the art section and there was an elderly couple fussing over some watercolour books. They noticed me standing behind them and the woman said, “I’m sorry, are we in the way?” and I said they were fine where they were. Then the man said to me, “The Chinese section is over there” and chuckled to himself. I felt my smile fade and was left kind of speechless. They walked away and I grabbed my books.

Now, I can’t stop thinking about this encounter. I’m disappointed in myself for not calling this guy out. Even a simple, “Dude that’s racist” is better than being mute. I always thought I’d be someone who would say something in these sorts of situations but I was just so shocked by it because he seemed to think he was being friendly and funny.

I feel like I’ve contributed to racism by not speaking up and it really bothers me. I’ve talked about this before: racial microaggression is fucked up because it can be so subtle and easy to brush away. The best thing to counter it is to make some noise about it, which I didn’t do.

So yeah, I’m kind of kicking myself about it right now.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

May I please say what a lovely day it is today? I’m actually writing this post in our backyard, although I can feel the computer getting a bit hot.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend the Ausmumpreneur Conference at Rydges on Swanston. I presented a talk about crowdfunding and was lucky enough to stay for the whole conference and I learned so much amazing from so many inspiring women. Even though the conference was catering for mums doing their own business, so much of the information was applicable to any woman trying to do their own thing.

I think for me, the most inspiring talk was by Heat Group founder Gillian Franklin. She detailed her career as a woman in business in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry and was beyond inspirational. She detailed some of the things she was trying to do to close the gender gap in the workplace and also detailed her passion to make her workplace a support and flexible environment, especially for employees who have children. She was incredibly inspiring.

After the conference, my head was buzzing with so much information. I read a few more chapters of Sheryl Sandberg‘s Lean In. There is a section where she asks some graduates what they’d do if they weren’t afraid. I thought I’d ask myself the same question.

My main fear or worry is not having a source of income to support myself. If those fears were completely eliminated, I would like to believe I would fill my day with lots of reading, painting, drawing and writing. I would set up an etsy store that stocks tote bags, wrapping paper, tea towels and some T-shirts. I would visit more art galleries, attend classes to learn more about silversmithing and dog grooming. I would learn a musical instrument and maybe start a music project. I would do more cooking and experiment with baking (get that watercolour cookbook happening!). I would go to trivia every Tuesday or Wednesday and do some karaoke every second weekend. I would see my friends and family more often and walk Momo every day. I would make a film and write lots of screenplays if I can.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Check out this tumblr: http://ifuwerentafraid.tumblr.com/